LIFE OF CHRIST

 

John 7:37-39 - PAGE 1

IS IT REAL? AM 5/21/06

LIFE OF CHRIST #34

 

Christmas is widely celebrated.  But is it real to everyone?

Does everyone understand and appreciate the real meaning of Christmas?  Does everyone grasp with a believing heart that Christmas is the time that we celebrate the birth of the Son of God to earth, who not only came to teach us, model right living, and to show us God in the flesh, but also to give his life for the sins of everyone that ever lived?

Is Christmas real to everyone?  The answer of course is “no”. 

 

Not everyone who celebrates Christmas is a true believer in Christ.

 

We are continuing our study in the Life of Christ.  The last time we studied we looked at the healing of a demon possessed epileptic. 

 

Jesus returned to Galilee after that, and then it was time for a visit to Jerusalem. It was now in the fall of the year and time for one of the greatest celebrations in the Jewish religion, the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.  It was not only a celebration of the harvest, but it was also the time when Israel was called upon to remember their wilderness wanderings of 40 years between Egypt and The Promised Land.

 

·       This was a seven or eight day festival held in Jerusalem.

·       The place was mobbed with people.

·       And during this festival people dwelt in temporary dwelling places, or booths.  So, wherever you looked you could see these temporary structures. They even appeared on roof tops and in alleys.

·       Sacrifices were offered every day in the temple.

·       People wore their best clothes.

·       Large candles were lit at night, reminding the people of the pillar of fire that had led them in the wilderness.

·       One of the great features of the feast was a daily ritual that reminded people of times when in the wilderness, God gave water out of rock.

·       Each morning multitudes would gather holding citrus fruit in their one hand. It was called an “ethrog”. This reminded them of the bounties of the land that God had blessed them with. 

·        “In their right hands they would carry a lulab, which was a combination of three trees – a palm tree, a willow, and a myrtle, emblematic of the stages of their ancestors’ journey through the wilderness.” R. Kent Hughes, Preaching The Word, John – That You May Believe, (Wheaton, Illinois, Crossway Books, 1999), p. 212

·       The priest would lead the procession to the pool of Siloam, where he would fill a golden pitcher. The crowd would recite the words of Isaiah 12:3, Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

·       Back at the temple and before the Altar, the water was poured out as an offering to God as the “Hallel”, Psalms 113-118, was sung.

·       Not only was the past remembered, but it was also a prophetic look forward to the Millennial reign of Christ. Isaiah 35:6-7, Joel 3:18

 

Just like there are many who celebrate Christmas without Spiritual reality, there were many who celebrated the Feast of the Tabernacles without Spiritual reality.

 

Vss. 1-5 – The Jews, the religious leaders, sought to kill Jesus and his own half-brothers did not believe on Him. They lacked the Spiritual realities of the joy of God found in the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

Vss. 12-13 - There was much controversy over Jesus at the feast.  This would have also robbed people of the joy of the festival. It would not have been real.

 

And think of the thousands of Jews, who outwardly showed joy but within they were clueless concerning forgiveness of sin and eternal life!  Many were counting on their righteousness and obedience to the Law in order to get into Heaven.

 

It is in the last day of this great feast in which Jesus had been teaching that He made a wonderful statement. 

Remember, that one of the great issues of the feast is water!  Remember that the Jews not only suffered from physical thirst, but also from spiritual thirst.  Jesus invited his listeners to experience something that is real! He offers to us today this same reality.

 

THERE IS A REAL INVITATION – Vs. 37

 

Vs. 37 – Jesus stood. Teachers usually sat.

               I believe that He wanted to be seen, so people would know who was making the offer.

 

The people at this feast were thirsty for the same things that people are thirsty for in our day.

 

They were thirsty for:

·       Freedom from guilt

·       Forgiveness of sin

·       Peace of mind and heart

·       True happiness

·       A meaningful life

 

Jesus said to them “Come and drink.”

 

Why could Jesus say that?

 

He, as God the Son, would die for their sins and be resurrected from the dead! 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 2 Corinthians 5:21

 

He, as God the Son, would provide for them a meaningful, peaceful life, represented by the “springs of living water” that would come from within.   

 

The invitation was to come and drink, or believe.

My friend God has always wanted people to come to Him in faith.  This invitation is valid for you today, along with other similar invitations including, Matthew 11:28-30 and Revelation 22:17

 

So how does one come to Christ by faith?

 

1.     RECOGNIZE your own sinfulness and guilt before a righteous God, and your own inability to please God through your own works. Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, Ezekiel 18:4

 

2.     REPENT of your sin by turning from it, and any way by which you thought you could make it to Heaven. 1 Thessalonians 1:9

 

3.     RELY on Christ alone to save you! Romans 5:1

 

4.     REALIZE by faith that God has changed you! Romans 10:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:17

.

This is a real invitation that you need to receive by faith!   

 

THERE IS REAL INSPIRATION – Vs. 38-39

 

Vs. 38 - Think of a river that flows underground, and then suddenly gushes out for all to see. And with it comes life that blesses the vegetation and people that live around that river. 

 

Rivers of living water do the same thing.

First they give us life from within and then they flow outward to bless others.

 

Vs. 39 – The reference to living water means that God, the Holy Spirit, is at home and at work in the life of the believer.  The Holy Spirit has always been present, but now indwells true believers since Jesus has been glorified. 1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 8:9

 

So, how will these living waters from the Holy Spirit affect first you and then others?   

 

1.     THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL AFFECT YOUR WALK

 

There will be immediate changes followed by more gradual changes. Galatians 5:16, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

 

Unsaved people will see your ways and wonder what happened to you.  Some people will drop you like a hot potato when they see your changed life.  Others will want what you have.

 

2.     THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL AFFECT YOUR WAYS

 

A Godly man brings forth fruit. Psalm 1:1-3

A Godly man is a person who is controlled by God’s Holy Spirit.   

His walk is distinct.

 

Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

 

The fruit of the Spirit is:

 

1.     A love for God and man that is so strong that an unsaved person will not understand how you can so love.

2.     A joy that continues to abound even when circumstances are tough.

3.     A peace that passes all understanding because it is grounded in the Spirit of the God of peace.

4.     A long suffering that endures mistreatment and trying circumstances graciously.

5.     A gentleness of kindness that is remarkably considerate of others at one’s own expense.

6.     A goodness that shows itself in good behavior and good works.

7.     A faith or faithfulness that is loyal to God and man no matter what the cost.

8.     A meekness or humility that is submissive to God and man.

9.     A temperance or self-control that allows God to be in control of your attitudes, words, and habits.

 

These qualities will begin inside of you and then flow to others.  Think of the wonderful benefits you show when you display love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness and self-control to others!

 

3.     THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL AFFECT YOUR WORDS

 

When the Holy Spirit controls your words, you will practice Ephesians 4:29.

 

Most importantly, you will not be ashamed to witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.   

 

Not only are your ways and works to flow as living waters outside of you, but so are your words of testimony.

 

Acts 1:8 - But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

 

You should feel inspired to think of all that the Holy Spirit accomplishes in a person who is a true believer.   

 

THERE IS A REAL IMPLICATION

 

I see a very real and scary implication here.

Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to those who believe.

The Holy Spirit will affect our way, our walk and our witness.

 

What if you examine your way of living and have to admit that the way you live is not God’s way?

What if you examine your walk for the fruit of the Spirit and find none?

What if you examine your words and find that you have no witness for Jesus Christ going on in your life?

 

2 Corinthians 3:5 - Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…

   

The implication is this: If the Holy Spirit is not at work in at least some degree in your life the chances are that you are not saved.

 

If this is true it is time to make sure that you are saved. It is time for you to truly turn from you sin and to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and change!

 

RECOGNIZE

REPENT

RELY

REALIZE

 

My friend before it is too late, make sure that you are right with God.

There were Jews whose celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles was not real.

There are people whose celebration of Christmas is not real.

There are people who think they are Christians, but have not come to Christ. Their Christianity is not real.

 

IS IT REAL IN YOUR LIFE?

REAL INVITATION

REAL INSPIRATION

REAL IMPLICATION

 

 

 

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